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Active Learning vs. Passive Learning...No Contest

Put active learning beside passive learning and it's an easy win for active learning. Passive learning is when kids sit still and are quiet as the teacher or small group leader lectures them. Active learning is when kids get involved in their learning process and learn by doing, talking and teaching others. Kids are wired to move. Especially today's kids who surf and skim hundreds of messages that come at them each day. Look at this chart. If you want to put your lesson into kids' long term memory, you'll have to use active learning. Look at the effectiveness of active learning over passive learning. 90% versus 10%. NO CONTEST. And yet many children's ministry teachers and small group leaders continue to use the least effective method when leading a class or small group.

If you want to really make a significant impact in the life of today's kids, then focus on using discussions, practice by doing and having kids teach their peers. When you do that, kids will remember 90% of what you lead them in learning. Teachers and small group leaders who want to be successful must shift from being a lecturer to being a facilitator. By facilitator, I mean they guide children through active learning experiences. They see success as how effectively they got kids involved in sharing the lesson. An effective way to do this is to teach by "you talking" for 3-5 minutes and then doing an activity, game, discussion, etc. Don't teach by lecturing for more than 5 minutes at a time. Here's an example of an effective large group elementary service